In the 1880s, the widespread use of refrigerated railroad cars by Chicago meatpackers made it possible to ship fresh meat, especially beef, not only to large urban areas (where prices dropped), but also to small towns. Gustavus Swift led the industry in shipping fresh beef to eastern cities. He pictured a fanciful version of one of his refrigerated railroad cars on the cover of a trade card given out at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
The card also includes a picture of Swift and Company’s packinghouses at the Union Stock Yards. By 1875 the area had become famous, prompting an editor in the Windy City to exclaim that visitors would not think of leaving Chicago without seeing the yards, as “the traveler would of visiting Egypt, and not the pyramids; Rome, and not the Coliseum; Pisa, and not the Leaning Tower.”
Above three details from: Swift and Company
Packers, Union Stock Yards,
Chromolithographed trade card, (7 x 5 7/8 in).
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